As a yoga teacher and a rookie meditator, I’ve tried to convince many others on the benefit of meditation and urged them to give it a try. Many are receptive to the idea, but many still want to see the cold, hard facts – the scientific proofs that meditation is actually good for you.
Working together with other meditation fans at BookMeditationRetreats.com, I’ve come up with these 6 facts about meditation that is certain to convince even the most skeptical among us! Read on, who knows? Maybe they’ll also make a believer out of you too!
Meditation improves your memory
A research at UCLA showed that long-term meditation increases gyrification – which refers to the folding of the cortex. More folds on the cortex create more surface area, which allows for a better ability to retain information. A separate study by the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging also showed that those who practice meditation are able to adjust their brain waves better. Meditation practitioners are able to screen out distractions faster than non-meditators, giving their brains more room to accept and retain new information.
Meditation slows down neurodegenerative diseases
A study at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center suggests a link between positive brain changes like stress reduction as a result of meditation to the slowing of the progression of age-related cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. According to the study, Alzheimer’s patients who were part of the study showed less cognitive decline after an 8-week mindfulness stress reduction program than those who didn’t take part. Instead, these patients showed higher levels of well-being.
Meditation helps to reduce blood pressure
A study at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2008 showed that meditation was effective in lowering blood pressure because it leads to relaxation, which results in the formation of nitric oxide. This formation opens up blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. The study showed that 64% of patients who tried a meditation-based relaxation program for three months saw a significant drop in blood pressure levels and could reduce their medication.
Meditation increases your ability to multitask
In an article by Scientific American on How to Be a Better Driver, the editors suggested taking up meditation, as it increases the brain’s ability to multitask. A study by the University of Washington showed that people who practiced mindfulness meditation two hours a week for eight weeks had better focus during multitasking tests than those who didn’t. Why is this – you asked? The main reason is because meditation practice allowed them to notice interruptions and distractions without losing focus on their present task!
Meditation is an anti-aging therapy
Forget expensive face creams. If you’re looking for a free yet effective anti-aging ‘miracle’ look no other than meditation! Consider it the new anti-aging therapy! Harvard psychiatrist and researcher Dr. Elizabeth Hoge showed in her study that people who meditated daily for at least four years had longer telomeres. Telomeres are protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, and short telomeres are thought to be markers of accelerated aging. A separate study showed that those who could keep their mind focused on the present had longer telomeres than those who couldn’t. Since meditation teaches its practitioners to keep their mind focused on the present moment, it is no surprise that it could slow down the aging process!
Meditation helps to manage pain
Aside from keeping you healthy in general, meditation can also help you manage pain. A study showed that its participants’ perception of pain reduced significantly after just three 20-minute sessions of meditation! This is because meditation changes the way the mind perceives pain. It trains the brain to be present which helps its practitioners to not anticipate pain.
Want to experience the benefits of meditation for yourself? Mindfulness meditation is a good place to start! Find the right one for you today!